Competitive Employee Benefits Key During Tepid Economic Recovery

For businesses looking to grow and get ahead in the wake of the Great Recession, offering competitive employee benefits is key. Workers nationwide have seen their net worth, home equity and retirement plan values drop at an alarming rate, and are likely to appreciate their benefit packages now more than ever.

According to the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finance—a detailed look at American wealth undertaken every three years—the median American family had the same amount of money in 2010 as it did in 1992. And while the latest data is 18 months old, it highlights the degree of economic devastation wrought by the recession, which, beginning in 2007, swept away much of the wealth accumulated since the early 1990s.

Here is a numerical look at the average family’s struggles today, compiled by The Week magazine:

$126,400: Net worth of the median American family in 2007

$77,300: Net worth of the median family in 2010, a 40 percent drop

$95,300: Median home equity—the value of a house minus what is owed on the mortgage—in 2007

$55,000: Median home equity in 2010, a 42.3 percent drop

$49, 600: Income of the median family in 2007

$45,800: Median family income in 2010, an 8 percent drop

15.2: Median percentage of debt that was education-related in 2007

19.2: Median percentage of education-related debt in 2010

$49,600: Median value of stock-based retirement plan in 2007

$44,000: Median value of stock-based retirement plan in 2010, a 7 percent plunge

For business owners, these statistics underscore the need for competitive employee benefits as a means of attracting and retaining quality candidates. Given the choice between two companies, job seekers will likely select the employer whose health, retirement and paid leave offerings are best. In addition, workers who feel that their current employer provides comprehensive benefits report higher levels of job satisfaction, motivation and company loyalty.

Small and medium sized businesses face a unique set of challenges when it comes to the implementation and management of competitive employee benefits packages, but there are options available to help lessen the monetary and administrative burdens. Partnering with a Professional Employer Organization (PEO), for example, is one way smaller companies can gain access to attractive offerings and professional plan management.

Regardless of size or industry, every business owner must take a close look at their employee benefit offerings in the wake of the devastating economic downturn. By providing comprehensive packages to your workforce, you’ll attract and retain top notch employees and be poised for continued growth and success.


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